Sydney Catholic school overturns same-sex prom ban after widespread backlash

A picture of a sign reading 'St Ursula's College' outside the Australian Catholic school. The school received widespread backlash over a previous ban on same-sex couples attending its end-of-year prom

A Sydney Catholic school will allow same-sex couples to attend an end-of-year formal together after receiving significant backlash to its previous ban. 

Abbie Frankland, a final year student at St Ursula’s College in Sydney’s Kingsgrove, created a petition after learning the all-girls religious school wouldn’t allow her to take her girlfriend to the event

The petition, which gained over 4,900 signatures, called on the school to drop the “discriminatory” policy and “align itself” with the “widespread support for LGBTQ+ rights” witnessed across Australia. 

On Friday (3 November), Frankland revealed on the petition that the school overturned the same-sex ban and granted permission for her to attend the 9 November prom with her girlfriend. 

“To everyone who signed our petition, shared our story, and stood with us in solidarity: a heartfelt thank you. Your support has made a difference,” Frankland wrote. 

“We hope that our story can inspire others to challenge discriminatory policies and practices wherever they exist.”

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New South Wales Premier Chris Minns showed his support for the LGBTQ+ students, the Sydney Morning Herald reported. 

“I think in this day and age you should be able to take anyone you like to your Year 12 formal – we are after all talking about teenagers who are close to or over the age of 18,” Minns said.

Federal education minister Jason Clare also urged the Catholic school to “show a little bit of common sense” and overturn the same-sex prom ban. 

“It’s 2023,” Clare said. “It’s about time that we say you can bring whoever you love to your year 12 farewell.”

A spokesperson for Sydney Catholic Schools, which runs 147 schools, previously told the Sydney Morning Herald that it “traditionally celebrates year 12 completion through events that either do not involve students bringing friends or partners, or they bring friends or partners of the opposite sex”.

The spokesperson didn’t want to comment “on the specifics of any one of our schools” to “ensure that our students’ competition of their HSC [Higher School Certificate] exams should not be disrupted by a broader societal issue being debated in the media and elsewhere”. 

PinkNews has reached out to St Ursula’s College Kingsgrove for comment. 

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